Environmental issues a hot topic in Local Plan consultation

The East Devon Local Plan consultation has created debate over tackling climate change

The East Devon Local Plan consultation has created debate over tackling climate change - Credit: East Devon District Council

More public transport, solar panels on new builds and more woodland areas are just some of the suggestions by residents on how to tackle environmental issues and help East Devon become carbon neutral. 

More public transport, solar panels on new builds and more woodland areas are just some of the suggestions by residents on how to tackle environmental issues and help East Devon become carbon neutral. 

Residents are running out of time to have their say, with less than two weeks left until the end of the first consultation on the New Local Plan, which finishes on March 15. 

East Devon District Council (EDDC) is urgently appealing to residents to share their views on the future of East Devon and how, what and where they think new developments should be built. 

Concerns have also been raised over the number of younger people that haven’t spoken out about what they want for their future - currently more than 70 per cent of people, who have responded to the New Local Plan’s Issues and Options Consultation, are over 56 years old. The council is keen to hear from all groups in the community. 

This week, the authority has revealed a number of randomly selected suggestions from residents who have shared their views on climate change and the environment. 

One of the big questions EDDC has asked residents is at what point in time it should require all new buildings to be zero carbon.   

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In total 42 per cent of respondents favoured making all new developments carbon neutral from the point the new plan is adopted, EDDC hope this will be in 2023. 

Suggestions from residents included there being more electric charging points. Another hot topic of debate was on where or if East Devon should have solar farms and wind farms. 

More than 60 per cent of respondents favoured the authority identifying specific areas for solar and wind farms, whilst 18 per cent of residents said they supported the general idea. 

In total, 11 per cent of residents said they wanted EDDC to apply a more restrictive approach, making getting permission harder for such developments. 

Those who have taken part have also suggested avoiding large scale wind and solar farms to protect the look of East Devon’s beautiful coast and countryside, and instead focus on using solar panels on roofs, especially larger buildings like farm barns.  

Other suggestions have included more links between settlements that are safe for pedestrians, cyclists and disability scooter users, among others, to use – in hopes it would reduce the use of motor vehicles and encourage healthier life-styles. 

There was strong support for more large-scale woodland areas and tree planting across the district also. 

Answers in the consultation also mentioned a want for larger gardens and adequate space around houses for parking, giving people more space around new build developments to enjoy and not feel cramped. 

EDDC want to know what you think of the above suggestions so far. Residents can answer as many or as few questions as they like. 

Councillor Dan Ledger, EDDC's portfolio holder for strategic development, said: "East Devon will have many challenges as we look over the next local plan period. 

"How we deal with the declared climate emergency is one issue that all residents will need to take note of. 

"The current issues and options consultation covers a range of questions regarding how the district council can best tackle this and we are keen to gain your views on how we proceed. 

"Please use this chance to give us your thoughts on how we can deliver a better and more sustainable district for all.”  

To take part in the consultation, visit www.eastdevon.gov.uk/newlocalplan 

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